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Major firms express interest in building 'iconic' high-rise on Nicollet Hotel site

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Some of the biggest names from Minnesota's construction industry have shown an interest in building the 'iconic' 20-story building demanded by the City of Minneapolis on the site of the former Nicollet Hotel.

Representatives from Vikings stadium builders Mortenson Development, Opus Group and Doran Cos were among the developers who attended an information session hosted by the city on the Business Journal reports.

The city released a proposal brief last month that sought submissions for a new building on the site opposite Minneapolis Central Library in downtown Minneapolis, which has been used as an open-air parking lot since the Nicollet Hotel building was demolished in 1991.

Architects and developers interested in the project are challenged in the brief to submit an 'iconic design' for a high-rise of no fewer than 20-stories, featuring commercial, retail, residential and office space that would complement the wider regeneration of downtown's Gateway district.

Submissions of the project have to be made by December 13, but Thursday's meeting gave interested parties the chance to ask specific questions about what the City wants.

Much of the discussion among the 19 in attendance was about how it would fit in with plans already in place to build a streetcar system, which will see a $200 million, 3.4-mile long tram system built on Nicollet and Central avenues, according to the Star Tribune.

The city has stipulated that any building on the Nicollet Hotel site, at 30 Third St. South, would have to take into account the streetcar system, which will make a turn at the site once it is completed in 2018.

Rick Carter, of Duluth-based architecture firm LHB Corp, told the Business Journal that the deadline next month puts developers under pressure to get a "fully-baked" design ready on time, and expressed a wish that the deadline was later.

The city's proposal brief for the project can be found here.

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